Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Top Songs of All Time – Part 2

First posted 4/4/2012; last updated 2/4/2021.

Dave’s Music Database – Songs:

The Top 2%

This page has been consolidated with "The Top Songs of All Time - Part 1. You can see it here.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Top 100 Songs from 1900-1909

First posted 4/4/2012; last updated 3/26/2020.

Top 100 Songs of the Decade:


These are the top 100 songs from the first ten years of the 20th century according to Dave’s Music Database. Rankings are figured by combining sales figures, chart data, radio airplay, video airplay, streaming figures, awards, and appearances on best-of lists.

1. You’re a Grand Old Flag (aka “The Grand Old Rag”)…Billy Murray (1906)
2. Take Me Out to the Ball Game…Haydn Quartet (1908)
3. Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)…Haydn Quartet (1904)
4. In the Good Old Summertime…Haydn Quartet (1903)
5. Give My Regards to Broadway…Billy Murray (1905)
6. Meet Me in St. Louis Louis…Billy Murray (1904)
7. Yankee Doodle Boy…Billy Murray (1905)
8. School Days (When We Were a Couple of Kids)…Byron Harlan (1907)
9. Bill Bailey Won’t You Please Come Home…Arthur Collins (1902)
10. Shine on Harvest Moon…Harry MacDonough with Miss Walton (1909)

11. My Gal Sal…Byron Harlan (1907)
12. I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now…Henry Burr (1909)
13. Wait Till the Sun Shines Nellie…Byron Harlan (1906)
14. Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet…Haydn Quartet (1909)
15. In My Merry Oldsmobile…Billy Murray (1905)
16. The Glow-Worm…Victor Orchestra (1908)
17. In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree…Henry Burr (1905)
18. Harrigan…Billy Murray (1907)
19. The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)…Vess Ossman (1900)
20. The Preacher and the Bear…Arthur Collins (1905)

21. Nobody…Bert Williams (1906)
22. On a Sunday Afternoon…J.W. Myers (1902)
23. Tell Me Pretty Maiden…Harry MacDonough with Grace Spencer (1901)
24. Bedelia…Haydn Quartet (1904)
25. A Bird in a Gilded Cage…Steve Porter (1900)
26. Hello Central Give Me Heaven…Byron Harlan (1901)
27. When You Were Sweet Sixteen…George J. Gaskin (1900)
28. Hiawatha (His Song to Minnehaha)…Harry MacDonough (1903)
29. Listen to the Mocking Bird…Frank Stanley & Corrine Morgan (1904)
30. Pagliacci, Act I: Vesti La Giubba (On with the Play) (LEONCAVALLO)…Enrico Caruso (1907)

31. Toyland…Haydn Quartet with Corrine Morgan (1904)
32. Love Me and the World Is Mine…Henry Burr (1906)
33. Auld Lang Syne…Frank Stanley (1907)
34. Arkansaw Traveler…Len Spencer (1902)
35. Cuddle Up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine…Billy Murray & Ada Jones (1908)
36. Under the Bamboo Tree…Arthur Collins (1902)
37. Down Where the Wurzburger Flows…Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (1903)
38. Silver Threads Among the Gold…Richard Jose (1904)
39. Sunbonnet Sue…Haydn Quartet (1908)
40. Blue Bell…Byron Harlan with Frank Stanley (1904)

41. Navajo…Billy Murray (1904)
42. Goodbye, Dolly Gray…Big Four Quartet (1901)
43. Ma Blushin’ Rosie…Albert Campbell (1900)
44. I’ve Got Rings on My Fingers…Ada Jones (1909)
45. In the Sweet Bye and Bye…Harry MacDonough with John Bieling (1903)
46. As Long As the World Rolls On…Alan Turner (1908)
47. The Right Church But the Wrong Pew…Arthur Collins with Byron Harlan (1909)
48. Come Down, Ma Evening Star…Mina Hickman (1903)
49. Maple Leaf Rag…U.S. Marine Band (1907)
50. In the Good Old Summertime…J.W. Myers (1902)

51. The Mansion of Aching Hearts…Harry MacDonough (1902)
52. Mighty Like a Rose (aka “Mighty Lak a Rose”)…George Alexander (1903)
53. Good Morning, Carrie…Bert Williams with George Walker (1902)
54. Any Rags?...Arthur Collins (1903)
55. Come Take a Trip in My Air-Ship…Billy Murray (1905)
56. Everybody Works But Father…Billy Murray (1905)
57. Ma Tiger Lily…Arthur Collins (1900)
58. In the Good Old Summertime…John Philip Sousa’s Band with Harry Macdonough & S.H. Dudley (1902)
59. The Yama Yama Man…Ada Jones with the Victor Light Orchestra Co. (1909)
60. Are You Sincere?...Elise Stevenson (1908)

61. The Good Old U.S.A….Byron Harlan (1906)
62. I Love a Lassie (My Scotch Bluebell)…Harry Lauder (1907)
63. Shine on Harvest Moon…Ada Jones & Billy Murray (1909)
64. Any Old Place I Hang My Hat Is “Home Sweet Home”…Will Denny (1901)
65. The Glow-Worm…Lucy Isabelle Marsh (1908)
66. Where the Morning Glories Twine Around the Door…Byron Harlan (1905)
67. Good Evening, Caroline…Frank Stanley with Elise Stevenson (1909)
68. Hurrah for Baffin’s Bay…Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (1903)
69. Take Me Out to the Ball Game…Edward Meeker (1908)
70. Way Down in Old Indiana…J.W. Myers (1902)

71. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder…Harry MacDonough (1901)
72. How’d You Like to Spoon with Me?...Corrine Morgan with the Haydn Quartet (1906)
73. Goodbye, Eliza Jane…Arthur Collins (1903)
74. So Long, Mary…Corrine Morgan (1906)
75. The Tale of a Bumble Bee…Harry MacDonough (1901)
76. Under Any Old Flag at All…Billy Murray (1908)
77. The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)…Louise Homer (1905)
78. The Old Folks at Home (Swanee River)…Haydn Quartet (1904)
79. Take Me Out to the Ball Game…Harvey Hindermeyer (1908)
80. When Chloe Sings a Song…George J. Gaskin (1900)

81. Alexander (Don’t You Love Your Baby No More?)…Billy Murray (1904)
82. Dear Old Girl…J.W. Myers (1903)
83. When We Are M-A-R-R-I-E-D…Ada Jones & Billy Murray (1908)
84. He’s a Cousin of Mine…Bert Williams (1907)
85. Waiting at the Church (My Wife Won’t Let Me)…Ada Jones (1906)
86. I Just Can’t Make My Eyes Behave…Ada Jones (1903)
87. To the End of the World with You…Henry Burr (1909)
88. Sweet Adeline (You’re the Flower of My Heart)…Columbia Male Quartet (1904)
89. Red Wing (An Indian Fable)…Frank Stanley with Henry Burr (1907)
90. Let’s Take an Old-Fashioned Walk…Ada Jones with Billy Murray (1907)

91. Nobody’s Little Girl…Byron Harlan (1907)
92. Dearie…Corrine Morgan with the Haydn Quartet (1905)
93. Always in the Way…Byron Harlan (1903)
94. Camp Meetin’ Time…Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (1906)
95. Under the Anhauser Bush…Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan (1904)
96. Anchors Aweigh…U.S. Naval Academy Band (1906)
97. Daddy’s Little Girl…Byron Harlan (1906)
98. My Wild Irish Rose…Haydn Quartet with Harry MacDonough (1907)
99. A Coon Band Contest…Vess Ossman (1900)
100. I Can’t Tell You Why I Love You But I Do…Harry MacDonough (1900)

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Top 100 Songs from 1930-1939

First posted 4/4/2012; last updated 3/25/2020.

Top 100 Songs of the Decade:


These are the top 100 songs from the 1930s according to Dave’s Music Database. Rankings are figured by combining sales figures, chart data, radio airplay, video airplay, streaming figures, awards, and appearances on best-of lists.

1. Over the Rainbow...Judy Garland (1939)
2. Night and Day...Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman (1932)
3. In the Mood...Glenn Miller (1939)
4. Cheek to Cheek...Fred Astaire with Leo Reisman (1935)
5. Stormy Weather (Keeps Rainin' All the Time)...Ethel Waters (1933)
6. Begin the Beguine...Artie Shaw (1938)
7. The Way You Look Tonight...Fred Astaire with Johnny Green (1936)
8. Pennies from Heaven...Bing Crosby with George Stoll (1936)
9. A-Tisket, A-Tasket...Ella Fitzgerald with Chick Webb (1938)
10. All the Things You Are...Tommy Dorsey with Jack Leonard (1939)

11. Silent Night...Bing Crosby (1935)
12. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes…Paul Whiteman with Bob Lawrence (1933)
13. Mood Indigo...Duke Ellington (1931)
14. I Got Rhythm...Red Nichols (1930)
15. Deep Purple...Larry Clinton with Bea Wain (1939)
16. Happy Days Are Here Again...Ben Selvin (1930)
17. God Bless America...Kate Smith (1939)
18. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?...Rudy Vallee (1932)
19. Blue Moon…Glen Gray with Kenny Sargent (1935)
20. I’m in the Mood for Love...Little Jack Little (1935)

21. Strange Fruit...Billie Holiday (1939)
22. On the Sunny Side of the Street...Ted Lewis & His Band (1930)
23. Minnie the Moocher (The Ho De Ho Song)...Cab Calloway (1931)
24. Puttin’ on the Ritz...Harry Richman with Earl Burtnett & His Los Angeles Biltmore Hotel Orchestra (1930)
25. They Can’t Take That Away from Me...Fred Astaire with Johnny Green (1937)
26. The Last Round-Up...George Olsen with Joe Morrison (1933)
27. If I Didn’t Care...The Ink Spots (1939)
28. I’ve Got You Under My Skin...Ray Noble (1936)
29. Sweet Leilani...Bing Crosby with Lani McIntire & His Hawaiians (1937)
30. All or Nothing at All...Harry James with Frank Sinatra (1939)

31. The Peanut Vendor (El Manisero)...Don Azpiazu with Antonio Machin (1930)
32. Sophisticated Lady...Duke Ellington (1933)
33. In a Shanty in Old Shanty Town...Ted Lewis & His Band (1932)
34. Stein Song (University of Maine)...Rudy Vallee (1930)
35. Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (Means That You’re Grand)...The Andrews Sisters (1938)
36. Dinah…Bing Crosby & the Mills Brothers (1932)
37. All of Me...Louis Armstrong (1932)
38. Summertime…Billie Holiday (1936)
39. Moonlight Serenade...Glenn Miller (1939)
40. Goodnight, Sweetheart…Wayne King with Ernie Birchill (1931)

41. 42nd Street...Don Bestor with Dudley Mecum (1933)
42. Let’s Fall in Love...Eddy Duchin with Lew Sherwood (1934)
43. Lover…Paul Whiteman with Jack Fulton (1933)
44. I Can’t Get Started...Bunny Berigan (1938)
45. September Song...Walter Huston (1939)
46. Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing)...Benny Goodman (1938)
47. The Very Thought of You...Ray Noble with Al Bowlly (1934)
48. That Old Feeling...Shep Fields with Bob Goday (1937)
49. Winter Wonderland...Guy Lombardo (1934)
50. Wabash Cannonball...Roy Acuff & the Smoky Mountain Boys (1938)

51. Honeysuckle Rose...Thomas “Fats” Waller (1935)
52. Stars Fell on Alabama...Guy Lombardo with Carmen Lombardo (1934)
53. It Don’t Mean a Thing if It Ain’t Got That Swing...Duke Ellington (1932)
54. These Foolish Things Remind Me of You...Benny Goodman with Helen Ward (1936)
55. Lullaby of Broadway...The Dorsey Brothers with Bob Crosby (1935)
56. Jeepers Creepers...Al Donahue with Paula Kelly (1938)
57. How Deep Is the Ocean?...Guy Lombardo with Carmen Lombardo (1932)
58. Once in a While...Tommy Dorsey (1937)
59. September in the Rain…Guy & Carmen Lombardo (1937)
60. Lazy Bones…Ted Lewis (1933)

61. A Fine Romance (A Sarcastic Love Song)…Fred Astaire with Johnny Green & His Orchestra (1936)
62. My Reverie…Larry Clinton with Bea Wain (1938)
63. Isle of Capri…Ray Noble with Al Bowlly (1934)
64. South of the Border (Down Mexico Way)...Shep Fields with Hal Derwin (1939)
65. Out of Nowhere...Bing Crosby with Victor Young (1931)
66. Embraceable You...Red Nichols (1930)
67. June in January…Bing Crosby with George Stoll’s Orchestra (1934)
68. Whistle While You Work...The Seven Dwarfs (1938)
69. What Is This Thing Called Love?...Leo Reisman (1930)
70. Paradise…Leo Reisman with Frances Maddux (1932)

71. Red Sails in the Sunset…Guy & Carmen Lombardo (1935)
72. Where or When…Hal Kemp with Bob Allen (1937)
73. You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby…Bing Crosby (1938)
74. The Continental (You Kiss While We’re Dancing)…Leo Reisman (1934)
75. Tumbling Tumbleweeds...Sons of the Pioneers (1934)
76. One O’Clock Jump...Count Basie (1937)
77. Little White Lies…Fred Waring with Clare Hanlon (1930)
78. The Old Spinning Wheel...Ray Noble with Al Bowlly (1933)
79. Sweet and Lovely…Gus Arnheim with Donald Novis (1931)
80. Goody Goody…Benny Goodman with Helen Ward (1936)

81. Beer Barrell Polka...Will Glahe (1939)
82. Dream a Little Dream of Me...Wayne King with Ernie Birchill (1931)
83. Alone…Tommy Dorsey with Cliff Weston (1936)
84. Three Little Words...Duke Ellington (1930)
85. And the Angels Sing …Benny Goodman with Martha Tilton (1939)
86. I’ll String Along with You…Ted Fio Rito with Muzzy Marcellino (1934)
87. Music, Maestro, Please...Tommy Dorsey with Edythe Wright (1938)
88. Thanks for the Memory…Shep Fields with Bob Goday (1937)
89. Love for Sale…Libby Holman with Dick Robertson (1931)
90. I Get a Kick Out of You...Johnny Green with Ethel Merman (1934)

91. When the Saints Go Marching In...Louis Armstrong (1939)
92. I Found a Million Dollar Baby in a Five and Ten Cent Store...Fred Waring with Clare Hanlon (1931)
93. You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me…Bing Crosby with Guy Lombardo’s Orchestra (1933)
94. Cocktails for Two…Duke Ellington (1934)
95. Marie...Tommy Dorsey (1937)
96. Too Marvelous for Words…Bing Crosby with Jimmy Dorsey’s Orchestra (1937)
97. Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?...Bing Crosby with Lennie Hayton’s Orchestra (1932)
98. Exactly Like You...Ruth Etting (1930)
99. The Carioca…Enric Madriguera with Patricia Gillmore (1934)
100. Willow Weep for Me…Paul Whiteman with Irene Taylor (1932)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Dave's Music Database Hall of Fame: Music Maker Inductees (March 2020)

Originally posted 3/22/2020; last updated 5/21/2021.

January 22, 2019 marked the 10-year anniversary of the DMDB blog! To honor that, Dave’s Music Database announced its own Hall of Fame. This fifth batch of music maker inductees celebrates the top 10 music makers who made their names primarily as producers and record executives.

Clive Davis (1932-)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Record producer and executive born 4/4/1932 in Brooklyn, NY. President of Columbia Records from 1967-72. Founder/president of Arista Records from the late 1970s to 2000. Founder of J Records. Chairman and CEO of RCA Music Group from 2003-08. Has produced albums for Air Supply, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny G, Whitney Houston, Barry Manilow, Santana, Carly Simon, Rod Stewart, Luther Vandross, and Dionne Warwick. Read more.

Buddy DeSylva (1895-1950)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Songwriter, film producer, and record executive born George Gard DeSylva on 1/27/1895 in New York City, NY. Also known as B.G. DeSylva. Founded Capitol Records with Johnny Mercer. His songwriting credits included Al Jolson’s “April Showers” and “Sonny Boy,” both featured in the DMDB book The Top 100 Songs of the Pre-Rock Era, 1890-1953. Read more.

Brian Eno (1948-)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Rock keyboardist and producer born Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno on 5/15/1948 in Woodridge, England. Was a member of Roxy Music (1972’s Roxy Music, 1973’s For Your Pleasure) and an ambient solo artist (1975’s Another Green World) before producing for acts including David Bowie (1995’s Outside), Coldplay (2008’s Viva La Vida, Devo (1978’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo), Talking Heads (1980’s Remain in Light), and U2 (1987’s The Joshua Tree 1991’s Achtung Baby). Read more.

Berry Gordy, Jr. (1929-)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Record executive, producer, and songwriter born 11/28/1929 in Detroit, Michigan. As the founder of Motown Records, he launched and/or signed the Four Tops (1966’s “Reach Out, I’ll Be There”), Marvin Gaye (1969’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”), the Jackson 5 (1970’s “I Want You Back”), Michael Jackson (1972’s “Ben”), Martha & the Vandellas (1964’s “Dancing in the Street”), the Miracles (1965’s “The Tracks of My Tears”), the Supremes (1965’s “Stop! In the Name of Love”), the Temptations (1964’s “My Girl”), and Stevie Wonder (1972’s “Superstition”). Read more.

Mutt Lange (1948-)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Rock and pop producer born Robert John Lange on 11/11/1948 in Mufulira, Northern Ireland. Has worked with AC/DC (1979’s Highway to Hell, 1980’s Back in Black), Bryan Adams (Waking Up the Neighbours), Def Leppard (1987’s Hysteria), Celine Dion (1999’s All the Way…A Decade of Song), Foreigner (1981’s 4), Lady Gaga (2011’s Born This Way), and Britney Spears (2000’s Oops!...I Did It Again). Also married and produced country star Shania Twain (1995’s The Woman in Me, 1997’s Come on Over, 2002’s Up!). Read more.

George Martin (1926-2016)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Pop/rock producer born 1/3/1926 in Highbury, London, England. Died 3/8/2016. Best known for working with the Beatles (from 1962’s Please Please Me through 1969’s Abbey Road), but also worked with America, Jeff Beck (1975’s Blow by Blow, Cheap Trick, Little River Band (1981’s Time Exposure, Paul McCartney (1982’s Tug of War, and Kenny Rogers, Read more.

Jimmy Miller (1942-1994)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Record producer born 3/23/1942 in Brooklyn, New York. Died 10/22/1994. Best known for working with the Rolling Stones on what is considered one of the best four-album runs in history with Beggars Banquet (1968), Let It Bleed (1969), Sticky Fingers (1971), and Exile on Main Street (1972). He also worked with Ginger Baker (1970’s Air Force, Blind Faith (1969’s Blind Faith), Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (1969’s On Tour with Eric Clapton), Primal Scream (1991’s Screamadelica), Johnny Thunders, and Traffic (1967’s Mr. Fantasy, 1968’s Traffic). Read more.

Sam Phillips (1923-2003)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Producer born 1/5/1923 in Florence, AL. Died 7/30/2003. His Sun Records label launched the careers of Elvis Presley (1954’s “That’s All Right, Mama”), Johnny Cash (1955’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” 1956’s “I Walk the Line”), Jerry Lee Lewis (1957’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire”), Roy Orbison (1956’s “Ooby Dooby”), Howlin’ Wolf, and Carl Perkins (1956’s “Blue Suede Shoes”). He also produced “Rocket 88” by Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats (1951), which some consider the first rock and roll song. Read more.

Rick Rubin (1963-)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Record executive (Def Jam, American Recordings, Columbia) and producer born Frederick Jay Rubin on 3/10/1963 in Long Beach, NY. Best known for his work with heavy metal groups and rap artists. Did production work for AC/DC, Adele (2011’s 21, Audioslave, Beastie Boys (1986’s Licensed to Ill), Black Crowes, Sheryl Crow, Dixie Chicks (2006’s Taking the Long Way), Eminem, Jay-Z (2003’s The Black Album), Linkin Park, LL Cool J, Metallica, Tom Petty, Public Enemy (1988’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back), Red Hot Chili Peppers (1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magik), Run-D.M.C. (1986’s Raising Hell), Shakira, Ed Sheeran (2014’s Multiply), Slayer (1986’s Reign in Blood), System of a Down, Justin Timberlake (2006’s FutureSex/LoveSounds), Kanye West. Revived the career of Johnny Cash in the 1990s (1994’s American Recordings). Read more.

Phil Spector (1939-2021)

Inducted March 2020 as a “Top 10 Producer.”

Pop/rock producer born 12/26/1939 in Brooklyn, NY. Noted for developing the "Wall of Sound" approach to recording. During the ‘60s, he worked with the Crystals (“Da Doo Ron Ron,” “He’s a Rebel”), the Dixie Cups (“Chapel of Love”), Ben E. King (“Spanish Harlem”), the Ramones, the Righteous Brothers (“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” “Unchained Melody”), the Ronettes (“Be My Baby”), and Ike & Tina Turner (“River Deep, Mountain High”). He also produced the Beatles’ last album (1970’s Let It Be) and solo albums for John Lennon (1970’s Plastic Ono Band, 1971’s Imagine), and George Harrison (1970’s All Things Must Pass). Read more.

Monday, March 16, 2020

The World’s Best-Selling Songs by Year, 1970-2019

First posted 12/29/2011; last updated 2/29/2020.

image from dreamstime.com


The World’s Best Sellers by Year

Figuring out the best-selling song for each year isn’t as easy as it seems. A variety of sources for sales figures (see here) were tapped in the absence of an official agency to track worldwide sales. As such, some figures have likely been inflated by record companies or other vested parties.

On top of that, reported figures don’t always strictly represent sales. In the 21st century especially, other figures such as such as the number of times songs were streamed via Spotify, YouTube or other services have been factored in. That means a song certified for 10 million in sales may not have actually “sold” that many copies.

Nonetheless, this list has been assembled in the hopes of offering some idea of the bestselling song of each year from 1900 to present. The numbers in parentheses indicates the number of sales in millions.

  • 2019: Billie Eilish “Bad Guy” (19.5 m)
  • 2018: Lil Nas X with Billy Ray Cyrus “Old Town Road” (18.4 m)
  • 2017: Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee “Despacito” (25.3 m)
  • 2016: The Chainsmokers with Halsey “Closer” (20.7 m)
  • 2015: Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth “See You Again” (20.9 m)
  • 2014: Marc Ronson & Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk!” (20.0 m)
  • Lorde “Royals” (22.0 m)
  • 2012: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis with Wanz “Thrift Shop” (14.25 m)
  • 2011: LMFAO with Lauren Bennett & GoonRock “Party Rock Anthem” (18.87 m)
  • 2010: Adele “Rolling in the Deep” (20.6 m)

  • 2009: Black Eyed Peas “I Gotta Feeling” (15.0 m)
  • 2008: BeyoncĂ© “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (14.11 m)
  • 2007: Flo Rida with T-Pain “Low” (12.0 m)
  • 2006: Shakira with Wyclef Jean “Hips Don’t Lie” (10.0 m)
  • 2005: Kanye West with Jamie Foxx “Gold Digger” (8.54 m)
  • 2004: O-Zone “Dragostea Din Tei” (8.0 m)
  • 2003: Pan’Jabi MC “Mudian to Bach Ke” (10.0 m)
  • 2002: Eminem “Lose Yourself” (15.38 m)
  • 2001: Shakira “Whenver, Wherever” (8.5 m)
  • 2000: Britney Spears “Oops!...I Did It Again” (6.0 m)

  • 1999: Ricky Martin “Livin’ La Vida Loca” (8.0 m)
  • 1998: Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman “Time to Say Goodbye” (12.0 m)
  • 1997: Elton John “Candle in the Wind 1997 (Goodbye England’s Rose)” (37.0 m)
  • 1996: Toni Braxton “Un-Break My Heart” (10.0 m)
  • 1995: Los Del Rio “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” (11.0 m)
  • 1994: Mariah Carey “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (16.0 m)
  • 1993: Tag Team “Whoomp! There It Is” (4.04 m)
  • 1992: Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” (20.0 m)
  • 1991: Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You” (15.0 m)
  • 1990: The Scorpions “Wind of Change” (15.0 m)
  • 1989: Kaoma “Lambada” (15.0 m)
  • 1988: Tone Loc “Wild Thing” 2.54 m)
  • 1987: Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance with Somebody Who Loves Me” (8.0 m)
  • 1986: Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer” (4.3 m)
  • 1985: U.S.A. for Africa “We Are the World” (20.0 m)
  • 1984: Band Aid “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (11.7 m)
  • 1983: Bonnie Tyler “Total Eclipse of the Heart” (6.0 m)
  • 1982: The Goombay Dance Band “Sun of Jamaica” (10.0 m)
  • 1981: Trio “Da Da Da” (13.0 m)
  • 1980: Kenny Rogers “Lady” (16.0 m)

  • 1979: Patrick Hernandez “Born to Be Alive” (11.0 m)
  • 1978: Olivia Newton-John & John Travolta “You’re the One That I Want” (15.0 m)
  • 1977: Baccara “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” (18.0 m)
  • 1976: Prince Nico Mbarga “Sweet Mother” (13.0 m)
  • 1975: Queen “Bohemian Rhapsody” Queen (12.61 m)
  • 1974: Terry Jacks “Seasons in the Sun” (11.5 m)
  • 1973: Tony Orlando & Dawn “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” (6.0 m)
  • 1972: The Pipes & Drums & Military Band of Royal Scots Dragoon Guards “Amazing Grace” (7.0 m)
  • 1971: Led Zeppelin “Stairway to Heaven” (10.0 m)
  • 1970: Mungo Jerry “In the Summertime” (30.0 m)

Resources and Related Links:

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Rick Rubin: Top 50 Albums

First posted 3/10/2020.

Rick Rubin:

Top 50 Albums

Happy birthday to Rick Rubin! He was born Frederick Jay Rubin on 3/10/1963 in Long Beach, New York. He became a record executive with Def Jam, American Recordings, and then Columbia. “The barefoot Buddha with the woolly salt-and-pepper beard” UT was once dubbed the king of rap by the Village Voice. WP He “was among the key figures behind the commercial and artistic rise of hip-hop, lending his signature rap/metal style to many of the biggest records of the pre-gangsta era.” AMG However, he branched out to work with artists as diverse as Adele, Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, the Dixie Chicks, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Rolling Stone called him “the most successful producer in any genre” UT and MTV said he is “the most important producer of the last 20 years.” WK Rubin has produced more than 100 albums with total sales of more than 100 million. WP In 2007, he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. WK

Esquire magazine says Rubin is “one of the few industry giants with the confidence to just let artists be themselves.” WK Rubin says his role is “‘to inspire and challenge artists to do their best work, and to do it for the sake of the work as opposed to the ends.” UT Daron Malakian of System of a Down says, “Rick’s like the song doctor. If you play something for him, it’s like going in for a checkup…the songs always feel better after his suggestions.” WP

Rubin continues, saying “Today’s surplus of lousy albums results largely from the twisted agendas of labels and managers who fixate on deadlines and marketing rather than nurturing talent…I try to…refocus everything on the art and the artist’s truth.” UT Malakian adds, “Production with Rick doesn’t mean you're going to sit in a studio. It might mean you go to a record store or to the beach. Or you go for a drive. You bond as people first.” WP

Early Years (1963-1984):

Rubin grew up in an upper-middle-class neighborhood in Long Island. He says his parents, Mickey and Linda, smothered and spoiled him and hoped he would become a doctor or lawyer. WP However, he was more interested in “aggressive sounds and outlaw music.” UT As he said, “I like things that are unique and extreme.” UT He was never into drugs, but was somewhat of an outcast in school, wearing sunglasses and black leather. WP

He had a band, the Pricks, in high school, and played guitar in an art-punk band called Hose while at New York University. WK He even played a few gigs at the legendary CBGB’s club in New York, WP but “never considered himself a musician.” UT When he enrolled at NYU, he intended to go to law school, until he was enamored by rap music, or what he considered “black punk rock.” WP He became a fixture at New York hip-hop clubs and was disappointed with most of the rap singles he purchased because he wished the records “felt and sounded like being at a club” WP instead of “disco songs with guys rapping on them.” WP As he says, “I started making records I wanted to hear. I didn’t know it was a viable job.” UT

Def Jam (1984-1988):

Rubin produced his first single, It’s Yours, in 1984 for T La Rock and Jazzy Jay. It became one of the biggest rap hits in New York and got Rubin noticed by Russell Simmons, a music promotor from Queens who also managed his brother’s group, Run-D.M.C. Simmons was shocked when he found out that “‘the blackest song he’d ever heard’ was produced by a Jewish kid from Long Island.” WP The two founded Def Jam, operating out of Rubin’s dorm room at Weinstein Hall, with his parents fronting them $5000. Def Jam made the big time when they landed a $2 million distribution deal with Columbia and broke big with LL Cool J’s 1985 album Radio. WP

The album wasn’t much more than rapping and percussive beats, showcasing Rubin’s minimalist approach which eliminated string sections, backup vocals, reverb, and other typical production elements in favor of naked vocals and instrumentation. WK Instead of a “Produced by Rick Rubin” credit in the liner notes, it read “Reduced by Rick Rubin.” WK Rubin also challenged LL Cool J, “rap’s biggest solo star,” WP “to add traditional song structure to his work, figuring that if it worked for the Beatles, it should work for everyone else.” WP Rubin’s approach had “an immediate impact, playing a key role in rap’s rise.” UT

Another trademark of Rubin’s early work became a fusion of rap and heavy rock. It was his idea for Run-D.M.C. to cover Aerosmith’s Walk This Way, a move credited with reviving Aerosmith’s career and introducing rap to mainstream audiences. WK Run- The song’s parent album, Raising Hell, along with the Beastie Boys’ “obnoxious and bratty” WP Licensed to Ill, “rap broke worldwide in 1986.” AMG The latter exploded “rap’s sonic boundaries [by] adding punk and metal to the mix,” WP a move which hooked “masses of white suburban kids” WP and gave the album the distinction of being the first rap album to top the Billboard album chart. WP

Def American (1988-1993):

Rubin’s relationship with Simmons suffered ad Def Jam flourished. In 1988, Rubin left Def Jam and moved to Los Angeles to launch Def American. He signed a number of heavy rock acts and “abrasive artists” WP like Slayer, Geto Boys, and Andrew “Dice” Clay, who recorded “shocking, controversial albums…with unflinching tracks about murder, Satanic worship, necrophilia and Nazism.” WP “I guess edgy things tend to get my attention,” Rubin said. “But it wasn’t the fact that it was offensive that made me like it…The music is what drives me.’” WP

Rubin signed a deal with Time Warner for a reported $75 to $100 million and “his label jumped out to a fast start with bestsellers from the likes of the Black Crowes and Sir Mix-a-Lot.” WP In 1991, Rubin produced Blood Sugar Sex Magik, the breakthrough album by Red Hot Chili Peppers. AMG Under the Bridge, the album’s #2 pop hit, grew out of Rubin’s discovery of a poem written by Anthony Kiedis about overcoming heroin addiction. Rubin convinced the reluctant singer to present it to the band. WP

American Recordings (1993-2006):

In 1993, Rubin dropped “Def” from the name and the label became American Recordings. Johnny Cash’s career-reviving album of the same name would signify Rubin’s greatest career achievement aside from launching rap into the mainstream. Cash had been at a creative and commercial low when Rubin met him and convinced him to overhaul unlikely rock tunes, most notably Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, into stripped-down, emotionally-bare confessionals.

Rubin worked a similar magic for Neil Diamond, who had “created a cabaret image by drifting from his emotional core as a singer/songwriter.” UT 12 Songs “was the crooner’s best-reviewed work in decades, landing on more than a few music critics’ best-of-2005 lists.” WP It also reached #4 on the Billboard album chart, Diamond’s highest chart position in a quarter century. Diamond said, “I was one of those radio stars killed by videos. It was hard to get back on track. With Rick, I found the right path. He picked up on the vibe of acoustic guitar and understatement, something I haven’t done in years and wasn’t able to replicate until this album.” UT

During this time, Rubin lent production duties to chart-topping albums from artists as diverse as Audioslave, the Dixie Chicks, Jay-Z, System of a Down, and Justin Timberlake. He also won Producer of the Year in 2007 for work with Johnny Cash, the Dixie Chicks, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and U2. The Dixie Chicks also won the Album of the Year Grammy for their Rick Rubin-produced Taking the Long Way.

Columbia (2007-2012):

Rubin was named co-head of Columbia Records in May 2007. He produced #1 albums for Adele, Neil Diamond, Linkin Park, and Metallica. He wond the Producer of the Year Grammy again in 2009. In 2012, Adele’s 21, with several songs produced by Rubin, won the Grammy for Album of the Year.

Republic Records (2012-):

In his post-Columbia years, Rubin lent production duties to #1 albums from Eminem, Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Kanye West, and the comeback of Black Sabbath.

Rick Rubin’s Top 50 Albums:

Here are the 50 albums produced by Rick Rubin. 19 of these rank in the top 1000 albums of all time according to the DMDB.

  1. Adele 21 (2011)
  2. Public Enemy It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
  4. Beastie Boys Licensed to Ill (1986)
  5. Justin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSounds (2006)
  6. Red Hot Chili Peppers Californication (1999)
  7. Ed Sheeran X (Multiply) (2014)
  8. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Greatest Hits (1976-93, released 1993)
  9. Run-D.M.C. Raising Hell (1986)
  10. Red Hot Chili Peppers By the Way (2002)

  11. Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road (1998)
  12. System of a Down Toxicity (2001)
  13. Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium (2006)
  14. Johnny Cash American Recordings (1994)
  15. Dixie Chicks Taking the Long Way (2006)
  16. U2 Best of 1980-1990 (compilation: 1980-2006, released 2006)
  17. Red Hot Chili Peppers Greatest Hits (1989-2003, released 2003)
  18. Slayer Reign in Blood (1986)
  19. Kanye West Yeezus (2013)
  20. Black Crowes Shake Your Money Maker (1990)

  21. Jay-Z The Black Album (2003)
  22. Johnny Cash American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)
  23. Eminem The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
  24. The Mars Volta De-Loused in the Comatorium (2003)
  25. Metallica Death Magnetic (2008)
  26. Aerosmith O Yeah! The Ultimate Hits (compilation: 1973-2002, released 2002)
  27. Sheryl Crow The Globe Sessions (1998)
  28. Linkin Park Minutes to Midnight (2007)
  29. LL Cool J Radio (1985)
  30. Red Hot Chili Peppers What Hits!? (compilation: 1984-91, released 1992)

  31. Johnny Cash American III: Solitary Man (2000)
  32. Public Enemy Yo! Bum Rush the Show (1987)
  33. System of a Down Mezmerize (2005)
  34. Shakira Fijacion Oral Vol. 1 (2005)
  35. Red Hot Chili Peppers One Hot Minute (1995)
  36. Audioslave Out of Exile (2005)
  37. Audioslave Audioslave (2002)
  38. Johnny Cash Unearthed (box set: 1993-2003, released 2003)
  39. Tom Petty Wildflowers (1994)
  40. Kanye West The Life of Pablo (2016)

  41. Johnny Cash American V: A Hundred Highways (2006)
  42. The Avett Brothers I and Love and You (2009)
  43. Weezer Make Believe (2005)
  44. Johnny Cash Ameican VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010)
  45. Linkin Park A Thousand Suns (2010)
  46. Neil Diamond i>12 Songs (2005)
  47. Eminem Revival (2017)
  48. Lady Gaga Artpop (2013)
  49. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Echo (1999)
  50. Linkin Park Living Things (2012)

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